Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why Flaherty was so upset with the PBO this week - part 2

A follow-up here to a post from Thursday morning on the blog on the matter of Flaherty's visceral reaction to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's Wednesday report on OAS being in fiscally sustainable shape. In iPolitics on Friday afternoon, this column was published by two very reputable former Finance Department officials: "‘Unbelievable, unreliable, and incredible.’Why did Jim Flaherty attack the PBO?" Yes, it was quite a noticeable attack and warranted scrutiny.

What I can't help but wonder, after reading their column carefully, is whether they are implying that the PBO may have been leaked a copy of that long ago Flaherty promised report on long term fiscal sustainability and intergenerational/demographic changes that they reference in their column. Because they don't seem to directly answer the question as to why he was so mad. At least, that's my theory on what they're getting at, when they say things like, "Surely such a report must exist?" Totally speculative theory on my part, I know. Maybe it was the case that Page hit a little too close to home with his numbers for Mr. Flaherty, thus producing the emotional reaction.

Their column is a good read for a Sunday anyway, even setting speculation aside. It is ludicrous for the federal government to be getting away with not providing such long term fiscal projections to the public. The IMF, as they note, backs the PBO in its attempts to do so. Other OECD countries produce such public reports.

We're the shareholders in this country and we deserve public numbers. It's really outrageous.